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Neil Killick @neil_killick
, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Trying a new angle for teaching story slicing, one of the biggest struggles for teams attempting #agile ways of working and arguably the most important practice to understand, given we are trying to deliver value to customers in very short cycles. Read on if you are interested.
The way I see it, there are 3 levels of story slicing, each of which is beneficial and necessary to be able to deliver shippable increments consistently in 2 wks or less. I am currently calling them Capability Slicing, Functional Slicing and Implementation Slicing. What are they?
Capability Slicing is the narrowing of a broader capability* into more precise ones, each independently valuable and implementable and, by necessity, smaller in potential scope.

*The story of enabling a human being to achieve something they cannot currently achieve
For example, if you start with the broad capability of "Enable Acme Bank customers to bank with us online", you can slice this hundreds of ways by identifying the 3 seams: " customers ", "bank with us" & "online". e.g. Enable business customers to pay their bills on their mobile
Functional Slicing is more of a Just-In-Time activity. While Capability Slicing is about what the customer wants/needs, Functional Slicing is about what they will DO. Identify incremental options for the customer workflow to achieve the capability, starting with most basic.
So if the capability is "Enable our personal customers to pay their bills with BPAY on their tablet", the first functional slice might be "Log in, Go to BPAY payment screen, Enter account, biller code and amount manually, Submit, No validation or 2FA, On screen confirmation".
With Functional Slicing it is important to remember that the most basic customer workflow to implement, and perhaps even the next several increments, are unlikely ones you would go live with, but they give you the quickest working versions to see, test, get feedback on etc.
OK, once we've identified our thinnest Functional Slices (of what the customer will do), we're ready to talk Implementation - the how - what WE need to do to enable the customer functionality we've identified. Now it's time to get technical. Here I'd use the Hamburger Method.
First identify the tasks we need to do to implement the simplest Functional workflow we identified earlier. We need to do things like Get the right user account and display it, Check biller entered, Validate transaction with BPAY and Display confirmation.
Now we identify the technical options for implementing these steps, from most basic to most sophisticated. For example, a simple SQL query might do the job for now of selecting the user account. Later we could write an optimised stored procedure which provides a quicker UX.
So these are the 3 levels of slicing - Capability (what the customer wants/needs)
Functional (what the customer will do)
Implementation (what we will do to enable the above)
Most teams jump to Implementation slicing way too early, and thus struggle to deliver in 2 weeks.
By doing rigorous upfront Capability slicing, Just-In-Time Functional slicing, & really focusing on the most basic workflows (from the user's perspective) first, the technical/Implementation slicing becomes far more intuitive and enables demonstrable progress in days, even hours.
I hope you've enjoyed this thread about how I teach story slicing nowadays. Please share it with your friends and colleagues who struggle with this vital #agile practice, and get in touch if you would like further info/help. Until next time, Happy Slicing! #scrum #noestimates
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